Nauthiz! Need. Necessity. The need-fire. Nauthiz is about the things you need, whether they are basic human needs or emotional needs. There is a feeling of constriction, or lacking, that comes with that need and the energy of Nauthiz is not one of reassurance or comfort.
Nauthiz represents a need or a desire, one that burns and must be filled. It drives us, pushes us to our limits to think outside our boxes and do whatever it is we can to obtain what we need. It is the driver of innovation and technology. Where in Kenaz, we had our tools and our knowledge and made things out of passion, Nauthiz is when we have to make our tools, build our knowledge over again and create for survival. Do not baulk if you do not at first succeed, creating something out of nothing is hard and you won’t build a palace out of sticks alone, but you can make shelter to ensure that you are safe and well enough to get up the next day and keep going.
Nauthiz can be a picking up of the pieces, after a catastrophic Hagalaz type of event. Where Hagalaz is ice and fire, Nauthiz is fire and Isa is the ice. But the destruction of Hagalaz is past, and Nauthiz more represents inner discomfort in the aftermath. The phrase that one should repeat first after a traumatic event is “Okay, what do I need?” It is in this that we learn what is actually important, be it food, water, shelter, clothing, fire, or just emotional support.
This is the second of the three Norns, representing Verdandi, or the present. Verdandi is known as “that which is coming into being” and is a point where we make a choice. We are asked to focus on the now, forgetting past and future, to gather what we need in this instant. We are asked to take care of the self, such as putting on our breathing mask in a metaphorical plane that is crashing.
One of the most important messages in Nauthiz is that it might represent a need, but it is also simultaneously the fulfillment of that need
One of the most important messages in Nauthiz is that it might represent a need, but it is also simultaneously the fulfillment of that need. Our needs are met. We are safe. We may be uncomfortable and needing to be innovative, but we can build that fire, we can feed that desire. With enough inner work, and paying attention to where our traumas lie, we can sort out what each of our needs are bit by bit and find we have the power to meet all of them.
The image of Nauthiz is that of a firebow, made of a vertical stick spun quickly using a crosswise bow. It uses friction to create heat and smouldering embers as firestarter. It is a perfect representation of innovation, driven by the very basic need for heat and food. Man is back in his most basic element, using whatever is at his disposal as his tools now. The base of the firebow shows multiple holes, which is normal for a firebow, but also represents how this is a lesson that will be repeated, and take many attempts before one can say they are successful. The grey is the smoke which represents uncertainty as well as conveying discomfort. Grey is also a medium between black like the void found in Hagalaz, and the pure white snow of Isa. Somehow I have always seen this rune as green though, perhaps because of the relation of desire and envy, but I think also because it takes that heart focus again to bring success in this situation.
There is a particularly deep, dark pit that represents merkstave Nauthiz, when our desires become overwhelming. This can come in the form of forcing those desires onto other people (eg. assault), or perhaps in addictions where we feel trapped into cycles where we feel nothing but the constrictions of Nauthiz when we don’t have our vices to fill that discomfort. But that discomfort exists for a reason, it is a symptom of need to be faced honestly. We need to meet those challenges and grow as a person, finding ways to make ourselves feel okay without causing harm to ourselves or others. Use of this rune in the correct configuration can help people to overcome these destructive patterns.
If you find yourself with a merkstave Nauthiz, the need has turned into a problematic issue either for yourself or in others. You may be denying yourself an unmet need or have fallen into addiction patterns. Take the time to be mindful and aware and take space away from others if you need to until you can sort through your issues.
It is because of the dark side that I associate this rune with the mischievous god Loki. Loki is a force of chaos and destruction that one can argue is equated with Hagalaz, but I think he overall suits Nauthiz better. He will happily, madly, push folks to their limits, but at the end of those experiences everyone ends off in improved situations. For example, the story where Loki stole something and turned into a salmon he upset everyone and was punished. But in doing so, he also created the fishing net that was needed to catch him and was an invaluable tool for humanity. It can be like following the devil, if one wants to make that comparison, where the fall into temptation and desire may not have been a pleasant experience, but one walks away with a better sense of self.